Fans show support for Godby’s compassionate wrestler, opponent
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Normally the match that Godby wrestler Julian Green Jr. lost to Skyler Jerrell of Arnold High School would have been forgotten by now.
But the show of compassion and sportsmanship that transpired on the mat during the dual meet more than three weeks ago wasn’t normal. At least because of the way it unfolded.
That the matchup is still being talk about beyond the campuses of both schools is a bit unusual, too.
“We had no idea that Skyler would be known outside of our (practice) room,” said Zane Turnipspeed, coach of the Arnold team.
Supporters of both programs have been showing their appreciation with donations of gear directly to the wrestler and the overall program
As conspicuously as the match happened none of the attention that the wrestler is getting was expected.
The coaches of both teams decided to let the match go on, although Jerrell suffers with Down Syndrome. The idea was to just let Jerrell get out on the mat and show what he had been practicing and have some fun, said Zane Turnispeed, coach of the Arnold team.
Boy, did Jerrell have fun. He threw Green, who was expected to easily win the match. Green in turn rewarded Jerrell by letting him win the match with a pin.
“He did something that is very rare to show compassion to somebody in a situation that’s different from their own,” Godby’s coach Jacob Fahrenkrug said of Green. “With today’s young people, the biggest issue is to think about other people in other situations or from a different perspective.
“Julian is blessed with the ability to internalize other people’s struggle and express it the way he did in the match. This could be one of those life-changing experiences for Julian. The sky is the limit for him. He is a great kid with a great heart.”
Green said his mind wasn’t made up about letting Jerrell get the win until the Arnold wrestler dropped him with a hip throw. He let Jerrell win because he’d seen other wrestlers take easy victories over him, Green said.
“He was strong,” said Green, who also plays linebacker on the Cougars’ JV football team. “He is very quick because he knows what he is doing on the mat. I think he has a future.”
Turnipspeed suggested that Jerrell might have become more popular than senior Drew StanDamant, who is top wrestler for the school. Yet, he keeps his humble disposition intact.
“Every day he comes to practice like everybody,” Turnipspeed said. “It was real awesome for him to get an opportunity to show what he could do in front of everybody.
“We really didn’t know how Julian was going to end things. It was in his hands. It was a lot of fun.”